The Largest Container Ship Ever to Call North America Visits the Port of Oakland

Press Releases

For Immediate Release
March 12, 2012

The Largest Container Ship Ever to Call North America Visits the Port of Oakland

MSC FabiolaOakland, Calif. – March 20, 2012 – The Port of Oakland welcomes tomorrow the largest containership ever to call any seaport in North America. The MSC Fabiola is a 12,562 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent-unit) vessel; an average container equals two TEUs. It is part of the fleet of the world’s second-largest shipping company, Geneva-based Mediterranean Shipping Co SA. MSC is one of the Port of Oakland’s fastest-growing carriers.

The vessel will arrive from the Port of Long Beach tomorrow and will be berthed at Oakland International Container Terminal. It will depart Thursday for an 18-day trans-Pacific voyage to Fuzhou and then onto four other ports in China.

“Hosting the largest containership ever to call in North America is what we mean when we say that the Port of Oakland is World Class, World Fast,” said Oakland Board of Port Commissioners President Pamela Calloway. “We invest in our terminals, navigation channels, and landside infrastructure to welcome these ships because they are the cleanest and safest in the industry. They are also where the industry is headed and where we must head to continue to compete.”

The MSC Fabiola is almost a quarter mile long, more than the length of four football fields or about equal to the height of a 55-story building. If all of the containers that fit on the ship were put end to end, they would stretch almost 50 miles.

Generally, ships arriving at Oakland carry imports such as electronics, wood furniture, apparel, bedding, toys, sports equipment, auto parts, coffee, and bicycles. When they depart, they carry exports including dried fruit and nuts, wine, rice, cotton, recycled paper and metal scrap, machinery, chilled and frozen meat and poultry, and vehicles.

“Seaport operations support nearly 40% of the more than 73,000 regional jobs generated by the Port of Oakland and its partners. Bigger ships mean more boxes; and more boxes mean more jobs,” said Port of Oakland Executive Director Omar R. Benjamin. “Our role as a leading export gateway helped us maintain our maritime volumes last year despite a weak economy; bigger ships are part of growing our exports.”

The MSC Fabiola is part of a new class of containerships creating greater economies of scale, increased fuel efficiency, and more service options for shippers. They also host the latest navigational and environmental protection technologies. The larger ships generally produce lower emissions per container.

The vessel exhibits an evolution in containership design–the accommodation block and bridge (combined, “the deckhouse”) are located more forward (toward the bow) and not directly over the engine. The split design enables containers to be stacked higher aft of the deckhouse, creating greater efficiency and loadability.

Of the more than 5,000 containerships deployed around the world, only 71 have a capacity of 12,500 TEUs or more, and the MSC Fabiola is the only one to have regular port calls in the United States. Virtually all vessels in this ultra-large class are deployed in the Asia-Europe trade lane.

Vessel statistics:

  • Built: 2010 in South Korea
  • Length Overall (LOA): 366.08M/1201′
  • Breadth: 48.2M/158′
  • TEU Capacity: 12,562
  • Maximum water draft (fully loaded): 15.50M/50.85′
  • Deadweight: 146,093 metric tons
  • Refrigerated container capacity: 1000 plugs
  • Top speed: 25.3 knots

The MSC Fabiola is part of MSC’s Pearl River Delta Express Service (PRX), jointly operated by French carrier, CMA CGM. The PRX Service comprises of six vessels with weekly calls at the following ports: Oakland, Fuzhou, Xiamen, Chiwan, Hong Kong, Yantian, and Long Beach.

About the Port of Oakland:
The Port of Oakland oversees the Oakland seaport, Oakland International Airport, and 20 miles of waterfront. The Oakland seaport is the fifth busiest container port in the U.S.; Oakland International Airport is the second largest San Francisco Bay Area airport offering over 300 daily passenger and cargo flights; and the Port’s real estate includes commercial developments such as Jack London Square and hundreds of acres of public parks and conservation areas. Together, through Port operations and those of its tenants and users, the Port supports nearly 70,000 jobs in the region and over 800,000 jobs across the United States. The Port of Oakland was established in 1927 and is an independent department of the City of Oakland. Connect with the Port of Oakland and Oakland International Airport through Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, and at


Rosemary Barnes
Media Relations/Marketing
Oakland International Airport
(510) 563-2892
[email protected]

Douglas McNeeley
Hayward Executive Airport (HWD)
(510) 293-5460
[email protected]


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